Ear Pollution DJ Style Headphones
Company: iFrogz

Price: $50 MSRP, with online discounts available
http://ifrogz.com

SRH240 Professional Quality Headphones
Company: Shure

Price: $100 MSRP, also with online discounts
http://www.shure.com/

Superlux HD681 Professional Studio Headphones
Company: Avlex

Price: $50 MSRP, available for less online
http://www.avlex.com/

Are you looking for stylish, comfortable, affordable, folding, full-size headphones that will impress your fashion-forward friends, and your budget stops at $50 or below? Ear Pollution DJ Style Headphones will satisfy most of your audio requirements. For twice the price, Shure SRH240 Professional Quality Headphones are not colorful to look at, but for the additional expenditure you get:

• improved audio presence

• carrying case

• 1/4 inch adapter plug

• coiled audio cable

• better ambient noise isolation

• more robust construction

Neither of these folding headphones is very forgiving. Inferior recordings sound lousy on both of them, and there is no other way to describe the experience. Good recordings sound fine on both. The Shure ‘phones, if not fully twice as good, are better enough that if you can afford them, you should buy them, if you like the fit and design. This applies when colorful appearance options are not at the top of your wish list.

The women in my evaluation test panel say the iFrogz headphones are more comfortable, with less weight on the head or pressure on the temples. Consequently, they prefer the DJ Style Headphones over the SRH240. The "it’s a guy thing" men in my panel unanimously vote for Shure.

I spent the past month alternating between the first two competitors, night after night, playlist after playlist. The iFrogz ‘phones were fun, but they were less satisfying musically. In a DJ environment, or dorm room, or school bus, or other young person’s listening situation, the $50 DJ Style Headphones will be perfectly adequate. For quiet enjoyment of a wide range of music, SRH240 triumphs.

If you can think of better ways to spend additional dollars, that will assist in your selection. For the first $50, with better pricing online, the iFrogz ‘phones are a bargain, and worth every penny. Five different color/style models are available. One of the versions is currently on sale at Amazon.com for $25, which is a screaming deal.

SRH240 Professional Quality Headphones are not the best audiophile model in the world. You will have to pay twice as much for ‘phones in that category.

Superlux HD681 Professional Studio Headphones don’t have folding ear cups. They are not geared for DJ or portable use. The speaker enclosures bleed a bit of sound from their "semi-open design," while the Shure SRH240 do not. Why are we including Superlux in this comparative evaluation? Because they feel and sound great!

A company representative explains:

The phones are of course semi open, and that design style does require that the sound would normally be slightly audible outside the phones and conversely from the room. It is a design effect rather than a problem per se. The feel of the phones  winds up as a listener’s choice of the psychoacoustic feel. Some folks like the solid enclosing acoustic isolation of the sealed set style, and some like me generally prefer a bit of openness and ambience you get with the semi open style in a quiet listening environment. Both can be good sounding systems.

HD681 is called "AKG Killer" based on Superlux’s low cost compared to a higher-priced industry standard in studio environments. I expected HD681’s fit and audio to be about the same as the iFrogz headphones, because their prices are identical. Surprise! Superlux headphones feel and sound better than both the iFrogz and Shure headphones in this shootout.

With online prices ranging from $30 to $40, Superlux HD681 are the best under-$100 headphones in this three-way test. Quality of construction does not appear to be as robust as the Shure SRH240, but looks can deceive. Avlex guarantees the ultra-flexible HD681 for two years, which is strong company support. The Superlux have the best overall comfort, best sonic transparency, and best audio spectrum. In the mighty chorus of Roy Orbison’s "After the Love Has Gone," you can hear each distinct vocal part and instrument, and you want the song to last forever.

SUMMARY:

Have only fifty dollars or less? Prefer color and style? Don’t want much pressure on your head? Okay with less audio clarity?

Get Ear Pollution DJ Style Headphones, and shop around for mega-discounts.

MyMac Review Rating: 6 out of 10

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Have a hundred dollars or a bit less? Don’t care about wild colors? Want better isolation from room noise? Need folding ear cups?

Get SRH240 Professional Quality Headphones. Do some comparison shopping at Froogle.com, where several online merchants sell SRH240 for less than $60! That is a bargain price.

MyMac Review Rating: 7 out of 10, particularly if you can buy them for close to the list price of the iFrogz headphones.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Want the maximum bang for your buck? Don’t need DJ-style speaker enclosures? Will you be careful with your headphones? Are you okay with a little ambient room sound bleed? Then order two or more sets of Superlux HD681, so you can give or sell your extras to friends who admire their stellar sound and cozy comfort.

MyMac Review Rating: 9 out of 10, with congratulations to Avlex for such a fine audio product at an exceptional price

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